The Nature of Judicial Power: Proprietary Claims of Religion

Janmaasthan of Lord Ram is where Babri Mosque has been constructed.”

Mikhail Tal, born on 09.11.1936, said once, “you must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5 and path leading out is only wide enough for one.” M Siddiq v. Mahant Suresh Das, [Civil Appeal Nos. 10866-10867 of 2010], pronounced on 09.11.2019, has led us into a deep dark forest, where facts, evidence and oral arguments traversed realms of history, archaeology, religion and law.

Supreme Being, an omnipresent being, is incapable of being identified or delineated in any manner meaningful to law. Hindu idols, by possessing a physical form, is identifiable and is a legal person. However, Asthan Shri Ram Janam Bhumi is not a juristic person. The purpose for which juristic personality is conferred cannot be evolved into a trojan horse that permits, on basis of religious faith and belief, extinguishing of all competing proprietary claims. The dispute is over immovable property. Court does not decide title on basis of faith or belief but on basis of settled principles of evidence. In a country like ours where contesting claims over property by religious communities are inevitable, our Courts cannot reduce questions of title, which fall firmly within secular domain and outside ‘rubric of religion’, to a question of which community‘s faith is stronger.

Hindus have established a clear case of a possessory title to ‘outside courtyard’ by virtue of long, continued and unimpeded worship. As regards ‘inner courtyard’, there is evidence on a preponderance of probabilities to establish worship by Hindus prior to annexation of Oudh by British in 1857. Muslims have offered no evidence to indicate, they were in exclusive possession of ‘inner structure’ prior to 1857.

The evidence in respect of possessory claim of Hindus to ‘composite whole’ of disputed property stands on a better footing than evidence adduced by Muslims.”  ABC.jpeg